What is my Punishment?

We all gossip, we all backbite. We make big mistakes and goof up big time. At times, we are mean, at other times selfish. At times, we lose it to the extent of doing irrevocable harm to those around us. We can cheat like the tax collector, fall like the immoral woman and at times even bite like the thief on the right. But its Christmas, the season of forgiveness and repentance.

So, what then? Do we spend the four weeks beating ourselves and pushing away all the Christmas sweets as we cry tears of repentance? If this is what you were planning to do, I thought of writing this just for you. Feeling bad about that time when you succumbed to letting your tongue run loose to lash out at that colleague?

Spending nights tossing and turning on your bed as you beat yourself up for something you should not have done and you did or vice versa?

Well, here are four verses from the Gospel for you to reflect on and receive the comfort you need:

  1. Luke 18:13 – The Publican

    “And the Publican, standing afar off, would not so much lift up his eyes towards Heaven; but struck his breast saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

    He just had to ask forgiveness and he got it the next minute.

    “I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other because everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” – Luke 18:14

    Have you ever felt that you are unworthy, because of the gravity of your sins?

    At such times, all you need to do is remember that all the Publican, who lived a life of dishonesty, had to do was to ask for mercy and he went home in peace.

  2. Mark 14:3 – Mary Magdalene

    “And when He was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, and was at meat, there came a woman with an alabaster box of ointment: and breaking the alabaster box, she poured it out upon His head.”

    Have you ever faced times you have been so overwhelmed by your sins that you don’t have the face to ask for forgiveness?

    At such times, just remember that your heart of repentance is the beginning of your journey in returning to Him.

    “Amen I say to you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she had done, shall be told in memorial of her.” – Mark 14:9

    We have all come across times when we have felt like our sin was too grave for forgiveness. How many times have you left the church before entering as a result of your shame?

    The next time, just remember that while you cannot take the alabaster box, even the smallest love offering is sure to touch Him. Even if all you have to offer is yourself and your sin, He accepts it only too willingly.

    He forgets your sin but always remembers your love.

  3. John 8:5 – The Woman Caught in Adultery

    “Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayst thou?”

    So, the next time you stop to wait for a great downfall you think you deserve for your sin, just remember this woman from the Gospel of John.

    “And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go and now sin no more.” – John 8: 11

    Do you go through the same emotion as me each time you come across this encounter in the Gospel?

    Do you dream to see Jesus, face to face, defending you when others are mad at you for your sin?

    Well, He is already doing it all and much more. Only you can’t see it.

  4. Luke 23:42 – The Criminal on the Right

    “And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom.”

    Do you know the best thing about this passage? It is that the hardened criminal was so confident of the Lord’s forgiveness. It does not end there. He was sure of a place in His Kingdom too. And how right he was!

    “And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise” – Luke 23:43

    That says it all. This is the confidence with which you need to return to the Lord, regardless of whether you told a white lie for the first time or robbed the bank for the hundred and tenth time.

PS: please don’t rob the bank.

A great saint once said (I can’t really recall who, probably you could find that out for me) that He writes our sins in the dust. Why? You may think. Well, the answer is so that all is blown away by the next wind.

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